Charlie's Soap ~ Laundry Booster & Hard Water Treatment

CavimumApril 18, 2011

Has anyone used this? Results? Opinions?

After reading the first forty pages of this Laundry forum, in anticipation of our new F/L (Miele 4842 & 9802 dryer) that will be delivered soon, I've concluded that powdered detergents are better choice for mold/mildew/gunk prevention---very important, for my mold allergies. The necessary regular HOT wash is a no-brainer due to my dust mite allergies, which is why I limited my new washer search to F/Ls with onboard heater.

I've used CS for the past few years, due to skin sensitivities and because it is free of perfumes. It has worked fairly well for us, but the whites get dingy, there are some ring-around-the-collar stains are stubborn, and the usual anti-persp./deodorant stains in the pits, etc.. All Free & Clear has been the other detergent I use on occasion, and it brightens up the dingy whites, but it is only sold in liquid form.

Finding an effective powdered detergent for a F/L, with our allergy issues and my perfume intolerance, is a challenge, so we're considering the CS booster/water softener. The scent of Persil detergents, while still in an unopened package, is overpowering for me, so I'm hoping to stay with CS and get better results with their booster.

FWIW, our water is on the low side of moderately hard at 4.1 GPG (that is 70 mg/L to 74 mg/L of calcium hardness. Alkalinity is 56 mg/L so I figure a small dose might help.

Any experience you can share on this new product is appreciated. Thanks.

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Cavimum, Seventh Generation makes a Free & Clear powder that contains oxygen bleach and enzymes. I'm sure you will find this help to keep whites whiter. You can also add additional oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate) or hydrogen peroxide.

FWIW, SG detergents scored pretty well on the Consumer Reports rating of detergents (especially considering they are "green").

I hope you are happy with your Miele pair. I received mine in early February and am very happy with them.

I use both powder and liquids without issue. I used liquid in my previous Frigidaire FL and never had mold issues. I wouldn't be scared of liquid detergent. As long as you do your monthly tub clean.

I find the Persil overwhelming fragrance wise. I can tolerate the "sensitive" version though. I did a load of whites tonight on the extra white setting/extended with Persil Sensitive Megaperls and they came out so white.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seventh Generation Powder

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 11:18PM
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livebetter - I tried the Seventh Generation "Hypoallergenic" powder a few years ago and it was a disaster. I broke out with unbearably itchy contact dermatitis all over my body, had to run to the dermatologist for a Kenalog shot, and re-wash a week-s worth of laundry. 7thG has a high "residue" rate, I learned later. It has been banned from our house. Thank you for the suggestion though, as I know it works for a lot of people or they wouldn't still be in business.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:59AM
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Have you tried BioKleen? The premium powder also contains oxygen bleach and enzymes for better cleaning.

That is one thing about Persil. It cleans well and rinses extremely well.

How do you know SG has a high residue rate? Just curious. I tried it once and it wasn't my favourite. I do use their 2X liquid and it seems to clean well.

Here is a link that might be useful: BioKleen laundry

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:52AM
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Sears also makes a Free & Clear version of their Ultra Plus powder detergent - maybe you could try that? I like their regular version - it cleans and rinses well and it has almost no scent. The only problem is that it comes in large packages so it would be a waste if it doesn't work for you.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:09AM
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livebetter - It was years ago, so I "googled" it again and found this link-->
I'm pretty sure this is it, because I remember the graphics. Granted, this is from a company trying to sell their own detergent, and perhaps the powder form is more likely to leave residue. Either way, once bitten, and anyone can be allergic to anything. I've found 'net forums where people react to All Free & Clear but it's fine in our house.

We've had issues with Arm & Hammer and others in the past. A local appliance store sells EcoVantage (powder), and I'm going to give it a try and hope the enzymes won't be a problem. If they are, I'll stay with Charlies Soap, and that is why I'm curious if anyone has tried their new Laundry Booster product.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 11:35AM
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According to Miele (read the manual) and our Miele Factory technician...liquid detergent MUST be used for the Express (quick) cycle and for the Comforters cycle.

As long as once in a while you use Hot or Sanitize, or just use the Clean Machine cycle once a month and ALWAYS LEAVE the washer door cracked when the machine in not in will NEVER have mold or mildew issues.

I try powder detergents, and I ALWAYS go back to liquids. They work awesome in my W4842! I really, really like Clorox Green Works, Mrs. Meyer's Geranium, Seventh Generation 4x and Method Peony Blossom. All liquids, all have enzymes, mostly natural and safe and besides from Method...all optical brightener free!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:04PM
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@ Cavimum

I always thought 4 grains per gallon was considered relatively soft, but a quick googling says that 4 GPG would be considered moderately hard water, as you said (USGS defines hard water here). CS laundry booster and hard water treatment may help a little, but I wouldn't expect a major change given your hardness values.

I have a whole house softener, so my water has 0 hardness. CS still gave me dingy whites and did not clean as well as my other products. It also did not make my clothes feel soft, as others have claimed, despite repeated washes. I eventually stopped using CS because the results were unsatisfactory. Granted, I'm a picky person. My suggestion would be to buy the CS laundry booster and see how it goes. If you are happy, great. If not, switch to another product and donate your CS detergent stash to a local animal shelter - the puppies will love you forever. Keep the laundry booster to use with any other product you buy down the road.

If I were you I would not buy the EcoVantage - there is nothing "eco" about it except the name and it doesn't clean much better than CS. The full ingredients list is not disclosed anywhere, and there are no environmental claims on the label except for the name of the product. I think it's smoke and mirrors.

I highly recommend Bi-O-Kleen Premium powder. It's scent-free, environmentally friendly, and most importantly, it cleans well. That's where I would start. You may also like Vaska scent-free. It claims to be as effective as Tide while being natural and using no enzymes. It's herbal-based cleaning at its best, and the lavender scented version is my go-to detergent. It also leaves your clothes much, much softer than any other product (without fabric softener).

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 1:43PM
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sshrivastava - I found the BioKleen at, but no mention that it is HE safe, I presume it is, since you recommend it(?)

If I order it, would I use the recommended amount on the packaging?

Is the citrus-scented version overpowering? Floral scents and strong (like Persil) give me the most trouble, or I could go half-unscented/half-floral.

I can use the Charlies soap & booster on wool socks & hubby's machine washable wool slacks, since there are no enzymes in it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 2:37PM
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Cavimum, the BioKleen essentially has no scent. It has a very faint citrus smell from the extracts but I smell nothing when washed.

You should try They ship for free at $25 plus they have some promotion for first time orders (15% off). They carry everything - if they would ship to Canada I'd be in laundry junkie heaven ;)

They also carry Vaska which I can highly recommend as well. It was originally for diaper washing so sensitiveness should (?) be minimal. It smells very clean with an herbal smell. I really love it. It is a liquid but it is much thinner than most liquids.

You can see by the reviews that it's a favourite.

Here is a link that might be useful: - BioKleen Premium Powder

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 4:57PM
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livebetter - Wow, I appreciate the heads-up and link. They've got the Bio-kleen in much smaller packages than amazon, so no big financial loss if hubby or I get a rash from it. I've already placed my order. Thanks!

At my stage in life, this is all the "experimental behavior" (new W&D and detergents) as I can handle. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:29PM
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I often use the "sensitive" setting on my Miele W4842. If you are both that sensitive to detergent you should use it too. Extra rinse.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:41PM
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Cavimum, I can also recommend Vaska - I use the unscented version. It has no enzymes so it is safe for delicates and wool. My local Target carries it.

Also, have you tried adding Borax to your washes? It helps with hard water issues, has no scent and is a natural alternative to color safe bleach. It may work well in conjunction with CS.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 12:07PM
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@ Cavimum

Bi-O-Kleen is safe and designed for HE machines despite the lack of an HE logo. That HE logo is owned by the SDA (Soap and Detergent Association) and I suspect there may be some financial payment tied to using that logo. Not all detergent manufacturers use it. The citrus scent is very, very minimal out of the box and non-existent after washing.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 7:18PM
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Very interesting about the HE logo, but I'm not surprised either.

The W&D arrived today and I've been doing laundry all day. I'm impressed by how quiet both the W4842 and T9802 are, and so much quieter than our 16 y/o Whirlpool TL and dryer.

I used Persil "Sensitive" and because the scent isn't as strong as the regular Persil, I might be able to adapt to the scent --- it's quite nice. 2nd rinse helps, too.

I nearly killed the washer (first day, mind you), when I washed some bed pillows. (well, the owners manual said I could...on comforter setting ... ) First, the liquid Charlies Soap sudsed up like mad (those pillows have never been washed), so I sat there the whole time and watched it. In addition to that, the pillow's really-tightly-woven fabric allowed water to pass through to the inside of the pillow, but didn't want to let the water pass back out. The machine's speed spin groaned ... and never really got up to a decent speed. The machine must have sensed the weight of the water inside the pillows. We squeezed the pillows out by hand in a sink, saved one, and the other is a complete loss. The special-allergy-proof-fabric-comforter will definitely get sent to the professional laundry.

BioKleen is on its way to experiment with, too.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2011 at 9:49PM
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